Elevate Co-lab

Society’s greatest challenges require coordinated, collective efforts. Many communities are looking for evidence-based solutions to help achieve their visions for the future, but they often struggle to mobilize their existing assets, such as knowledge, experience, and relationships, while at the same time a growing number of scientists are eager to do societally impactful research, however they often lack the forum or resources to connect to public stakeholders.


The Elevate Co-lab project, funded by the Dana Foundation and the Institute for Methods Innovation, will pilot a co-created, community-driven problem-solving process between neuroscience researchers, policymakers, and community members (such as teachers, local business owners, and community leaders). Our team will experiment with asset-based approaches which honor the unique skills and strengths of each partner in the process, so that societal impact can happen with communities and not for them. The goal of this initiative is to implement community-driven solutions to challenges at the intersection of neuroscience and society, such as how to embrace neurodiversity in education or the workplace. We will do this through asset-based approaches to community design including:

1. Community Stories. Neurodiverse individuals and advocates will share their personal experiences, shedding light on challenges and successes in the workplace.

2. Design Sprints. Brainstorm and collaborate on strategies to create supportive and inclusive workplace environments for neurodiverse individuals.

3. Pilot Investment. Allocate funding toward the proposed solutions from the design sprints following a participatory budgeting approach.

4. Demo Days. Work with pilot project teams to organize and promote regular demo days (think public lab meetings) to foster bi-directional exchange with the community.